ach night Paulo Goude, singer, rapper, beat-boxer, keyboardist and composer for the band Trybez,  takes a moment to thank  überdiva Grace Jones for the opportunity to open for her on her phenomenal "Hurricane" tour.  Trybez, of course, is the Paris-based band  who are selling out venues and reaping massive ticket sales all across Europe.  A three-piece line-up that includes a drummer and a DJ, the band has gained critical acclaim for their eclectic mix of musical sounds and styles.  For the tour, Trybez's pairing with the legendary Ms. Jones is not entirely coincidental. And this becomes clear each night when Paulo offers to her his heart-felt gratitude. He calls her "mum."More than just a courtesy, the affection is well placed. Paulo Goude is, after all, Grace Jones' multi-talented son. A son who is well on his way to continuing the famous family legacy of innovation and talent.  

e meet with Paulo to talk with him prior to his concerts in the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels and then again in Paradiso in Amsterdam. He's one of the three faces of Trybez, along with actor/rapper Faizal and singer/dancer Azella. Musically, the band manoeuvres between a variety of different styles and influences, from the crossover beats of Fun-Da-Mental to the attitude of Hector Babino and to the coolness of Black Eyed Peas. All with the hips of Shakira included. Paulo is eager to talk about his band, his childhood and his musical patrimony.

"I don't speak no Spanish, but I do read body language"  

aulo is no stranger to culture. He grew up in New York, where he attended a French primary school, and then in Paris,Trybez where he attended an English speaking school. He learned to play the piano when he was four. By the age of thirteen he was using computers to compose his own material. He spent his final two years of high school in Cambridge studying photography, graphic design and, of course, music. It was during this time when the first elements of Trybez began to emerge. "I was living with my best friend," Paulo says. "We both wanted to be DJs and we had turntables. We'd put all our stuff in a hidden room, where we had scratch battles, and skipped class to do that. He became a DJ. I gave him my turntables when I discovered writing music. I didn't really see the point of having turntables anymore. It's only like a couple of years later that I realized it make sense to keep a turntable for sampling." 

After high school Paulo moved to New York to live with his famous mother, attempting to build his own network within the music industry. He modelled on the catwalks of New York City to earn some extra money. "But then," he says, "there was 9/11 and after that there was, like, nothing. Nothing! All these contacts I made were, like, all of a sudden had never existed. The country changed overnight." 

So Paulo moved back to Paris where he teamed up with actor/comedian Jerome Commandeur for a theater tour in Franch with a two man act. After two years he started performing with his girlfriend Azella, an accomplished dancer who can also rap and play the didgeredoo. Singer Faisal was added to the line-up and Trybez was born. After two years they released their self-titled debut album (currently available in digital form only). "Azella raps in Spanish, " Paulo smiles, "Faisal sings in English, French and Spanish and I just stick to my guns. You know: English and Jamaican-English." 

"Free is Good!"

e have a synergy on stage, " Paulo says about Trybez. "And you would expect the three of us to overpower each other. But there really is a chemistry that people enjoy."  About their unique live set, Paulo explains "We don't use electronics on stage. Our DJ used to have CD turntables on stage for samples and scratching. But because of the UK tour, we were confirmed very late on. So we just put everything on a sampler." 

Paulo explains the  business side of Trybez. "We are signed to a label. It's a publishing and recording deal. We had a management deal as well, but that doesn't make sense. You can't manage yourself. You can't negotiate with yourself --'hey, let's do it for free'-- and then say, 'yeah, free is good'." 

The band is in constant motion. And they continue to adjust to newly-discovered talents along the way. "I also found out that our DJ plays guitar," says Paulo. "I didn't know. All this time. So I said: 'ok, now you're gonna be the DJ and the guitar player'. We've got an acoustic version of 'Money' which, on the album, is more of a hip hop style. We tried it out with him on guitar. So now it's like an acoustic remix!" 

But even though Trybez is currently, for Paulo, his most important project, he's also moonlighting  in several other roles as well. He continues as a percussionist for the French singer Lola and helps out on singing duties for Cameroen. And, once Trybez leaves the stage each night, he joins in his mothers' band for two hours as the resident percussionist. 

"Sorry, my mom will kill me" 

t was Miss Jones herself who insisted that Trybez be the opening act for her current "Hurricane" tour. "Unfortunately we only have half an hour as the opening act. The last night in London, one girl went 'do one more! do one more!'. And I said 'no sorry, my mom will kill me'. And she said 'no, it's your mom, she'll understand!'"  

While a lot of children from artists often avoid talking about their background, Paulo doesn't mind talking about his famous parents. His father, photographer and designer Jean-Paul Goude, is responsible for some of the more famous images of his mother. "When I thank my mom on stage, I mean it sincere - I'm her biggest fan and she was my first fan. So of course I want to thank her. She's the reason I'm alive and I wouldn't appreciate music so much when she hadn't take me on tour as a baby, just like I'm taking her granddaughter on tour now. It's a family affair. My uncle Chris Jones is on this tour as well."

For Ms. Jones' "Hurricane" album, Paulo wrote the song "Sunset, Sunrise."Paulo explains: "I made the music for her as a birthday present. I had no idea she wanted to actually use it and that it would come out. Of course we had Sly & Robbie on it afterwards and Brian Eno touched it a little bit. It was really cool. it is touching, everytime I hear that track, everyone knows the words and sing along." 

nd Paulo's musical involvement with his mother does not end there. Soundchecks of Grace Jones' band are done prior to each show. Paulo substitutes for his mother and sings her song "Slave to the Rhythm" for her. The resemblance of their voices is striking. "It's funny," says Paulo, "the promoter in Brussels could hear the soundtrack and was telling someone 'see, she's singing to track'. I was singing her parts!." 

Paulo credits his mother's highly succesfull comeback of Grace Jones to producer and musician Ivor Guest. "He's the man with the plan", Paulo explains. "It's like he's been breeding Grace Jones for so many years. Knew exactly what to do. His vision was perfect and the musicians he choose-- brilliant." 

The Hurricane tour will travel to the United Stated in July. A show at the Hollywood Bowl has been confirmed, followed by a coast-to-coast tour. "I'm not sure if Trybez is gonna be there, but I will be there as part of the Grace Jones band!." 

And his eyes tell he can't wait for the tour to continue.


Trybez on-line:

Official website:


Download free track "Chatroom".

Stream "Chatroom":

(c) 2009 Frank Veldkamp / La La Land
Thanks to Paulo, Tracey, Eric and Oliver